|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
40:7-16 Jeremiah had never in his prophecies spoken of any good days for the Jews, to come immediately after the captivity; yet Providence seemed to encourage such an expectation. But how soon is this hopeful prospect blighted! When God begins a judgment, he will complete it. While pride, ambition, or revenge, bears rule in the heart, men will form new projects, and be restless in mischief, which commonly ends in their own ruin. Who would have thought, that after the destruction of Jerusalem, rebellion would so soon have sprung up? There can be no thorough change but what grace makes. And if the miserable, who are kept in everlasting chains for the judgment of the great day, were again permitted to come on earth, the sin and evil of their nature would be unchanged. Lord, give us new hearts, and that new mind in which the new birth consists, since thou hast said we cannot without it see thy heavenly kingdom.
Verse 14. - Baalis the king of the Ammonites. Perhaps the same king referred to in Jeremiah 27:3 as seeking alliance with Zedekiah. He was naturally opposed to the Babylonian official, Gedaliah. Hath sent Ishmael. Ishmael was connected with the royal family (Jeremiah 41:1), and was probably jealous of Gedaliah.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And said unto him, dost thou certainly know,.... Not that they thought he did know, or that the thing was so flagrant that he must know it; but that he might be assured of the truth of it, from the information they were now about to give him: or, "dost thou not in knowing know?" (x) it is most certainly true; and thou mayest depend upon it that it is real matter of fact:
that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay thee? very probably Ishmael, with the forces under him, fled to the king of the Ammonites upon the taking of Jerusalem; who, out of ill will to the Jews, always bore them by the Ammonites, envying their reestablishment under Gedaliah, and hoping to make a prey of them if their governor was removed, moved it to this young prince to dispatch him; and who might be forward enough to undertake it, being displeased that Gedaliah should be governor, which he might think was an office he had a better right to, being of the seed royal; and therefore readily agreed to be sent on this bloody errand, to take away the governor's life: or, "to smite him in the soul"; or "to smite his soul" (y); that is, to give him a mortal blow, his death's wound, to separate soul and body:
but Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not; being a good man, and knowing he had done nothing to disoblige him, could not believe a person of such birth and dignity would ever be guilty of such an action: very likely Ishmael had behaved in a very princely complaisant manner, and had expressed a great affection for the governor, and had been very familiar with him; and being of the seed royal, it is highly probable Gedaliah had shown a distinguished regard to him, which he might think was the reason of this charge being brought against him, out of envy to him; however, since it came from such a body of men, though he was not over credulous, yet he ought to have inquired into it, and provided for his own safety, and the public good, against the worst that might happen.
(x) "nonne cognoscendo cognosces", Pagninus, Montanus. (y) "ut percutiat animam tuam", Munster; "te in anima", Pagninus; "secundum animam", Piscator; "ad percutiendum te (quoad) animam", Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. Baalis—named from the idol Baal, as was often the case in heathen names.
Ammonites—So it was to them that Ishmael went after murdering Gedaliah (Jer 41:10).
slay—literally, "strike thee in the soul," that is, a deadly stroke.
Ishmael—Being of the royal seed of David (Jer 41:1), he envied Gedaliah the presidency to which he thought himself entitled; therefore he leagued himself with the ancient heathen enemy of Judah.
believed … not—generous, but unwise unsuspiciousness (Ec 9:16).
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